It is likely that if you work from home you are really pulling double duty as you are a parent as well. It’s likely that you work on your business while you do some laundry, corral the kids, or prepare some dinner… And don’t forget all the phone calls you get from family and friends anticipating that you will do errands or go out for the day with them.
Running a home-based business is one of the toughest aspects there is, as it requires you to separate your family life, as well as your work life. There are six ways that you can keep your household running smoothly while keeping your business running smoothly at the same time.
1. Create a work schedule
It is imperative that you create a schedule and follow it religiously. If business calls come in during the day or personal calls come in after-hours, it might be tempting to answer them either during these times – but this actually shows that you’re not dependable – and you’ll be assumed that you’ll always be accessible to your people for every little thing that comes up. It is very important to keep your work hours, regardless of whether or not family comes first. You should resist the temptation to chat with friends or pick up groceries during working hours.
2. Stay away from distractions (including friends)
If we are working from home, our friends may consider it an invitation to allow us to chat during the day or enjoy a coffee date, or go shopping with them in the afternoon. It is crucial that you explain that your business hours go only for that purpose and do not extend to personal time. You can gradually get your friends to accept your schedule without feeling slighted by leaving personal calls for after-hours so that they can feel a sense of comfort.
3. Work at the time of your pleasing
There is no rule that says you have to keep the same hours as everyone else just because you want to set up a work schedule. Being self-employed has many benefits, including the ability to set your own hours based on your schedule and what works best for you. If you are a night owl or an early bird, you will discover that you’ll do much more than what your body is designed to do when you are in touch with its natural rhythms. The typical working pattern for some people is to work in the morning, take a break when the kids return from school in the afternoon, and then start working again in the evening. It is important that you schedule your work time during the times for which you feel the most productive so that you will discover that things will be done easier, faster, and for a better result than if you were trying to squeeze everything into rigid work hours as everyone else.
4. Respecting after business hours
It is important to have at least a voicemail system or an answering machine if getting business calls after hours or on workdays is becoming an issue. It is also helpful to have a separate business phone line. Additionally, your business will appear more professional to clients if the same phone number is used to make and receive calls for your business and your family.
5. Implement a visual cue
The best thing you can do is to separate your “home office” from the rest of your house when at all possible. It is very important that if you don’t have the luxury of having a separate room, you can still use a room partition or screen to keep things neat. The visual cue also serves as a cue for your family to know that you are working and should not be disturbed while you are doing other things.
When you work, be professional and dress accordingly. When dealing with business topics, some people find it useful to wear casual business attire while undergoing their work duties. It just goes to show that you are still regarded as a professional regardless of whether you work from home or not. During regular business hours, you should answer the phone with your name, or your business name, and keep your children away from the phone. In addition to this, it is important to invest in the tools which will help you to do your job effectively. You can easily turn your home office into a true workspace by adding a cell phone, a fax machine, or even a budget computer.
Use these 6 steps to really separate your business life from your personal life and start seeing the results in no time!